Midwifery Care

A midwife is a clinician who provides a full range of pregnancy, birthing and primary health care services. Licensed midwives receive formal education and clinical training, and they use best practices to care for people at any point in their life and pregnancy.

As recently as the early 1900s, midwives attended half of all births in the U.S. While they are not used as commonly now, midwives have long been key to the health and well-being of their communities.

Personalized Care

Midwifery uses a distinct approach to care. The midwifery care model considers pregnancy to be an important transition in a person’s life. Midwives:

  • Develop a strong relationship with their clients
  • Use a personalized approach to meet the unique physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs of their clients.

Midwives offer these pregnancy and birth services:

  • Careful monitoring of the physical, psychological and social well-being of the parent throughout the childbearing cycle, including in the case of an abortion or miscarriage
  • Individualized education and counseling about prenatal and postpartum care
  • Comprehensive clinical care and management during prenatal, labor, birth and postpartum, including hospital admissions, rounds, and discharge planning
  • Minimally invasive techniques to encourage labor and birth
  • Referral to obstetrical attention from a physician as needed

Midwives also provide the following primary health care services:

  • Annual health exams including pap smears, breast exams and breast cancer screening, other health screenings and counseling with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention
  • History and physical examinations
  • Reproductive and sexual health services including family planning
  • Prescribing and administering medications and vaccines
  • Ordering laboratory tests and diagnostic tests such as blood work and sonograms
  • Pre-conception counseling
  • Breastfeeding education and support
  • Perimenopausal and postmenopausal counseling and care
  • Newborn circumcision
  • Referral to specialists

Midwifery Care Outcomes and Research

Research shows that outcomes improve for parents and their babies when they have access to midwifery care, including:

  • Reduced rates of preterm birth, low birthweight, cesarean birth and neonatal death
  • Increased rates of patient satisfaction, successful breastfeeding and vaginal birth after cesarean
  • Increased breastfeeding rates

Finding and Paying for a Midwife

Licensed midwives are an integral part of the New York City health care system and have a long history of providing care in the city. NYC midwives attend births in hospitals, birth centers and at homes.

In New York State, you can get midwifery care through private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and self-pay.

If you have insurance, check to see if you are covered for midwifery services. If you are pregnant and uninsured, you can either qualify for Medicaid or a special enrollment period through the New York State of Health Marketplace.

How to Become a Midwife

A licensed midwife in New York State can provide safe and effective care in the home, birth center, hospital and any other health care setting.

If you want to become a midwife in New York State, you must complete an accredited midwifery education program and pass a national certifying exam. You must also get a license from the New York State Education Department.

Additional Resources

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